The big smile under a Penn State baseball cap pretty much told the story of the Carl J. Roesch Track and Field Classic. Akeel Lynch, who will play football for the Nittany Lions in the fall, was wearing both on the awards podium as he accepted the trophy as the meet's MVP.
It was the second year in a row the St. Francis sprinter was named the Roesch MVP. Lynch was a double winner as he broke his own school record in the 200 meters in 22.25. His win in the 100 meters came in season-best 11.05.
A field of 26 teams competed Saturday in the 38th annual event on what was the first hot day of the season. Host Clarence won the team title followed by St. Francis and Lancaster.
Lynch said he's added 10 pounds to his frame for football, and feared it might slow him down, but there was little evidence of that. "I wanted to make sure that if I put on this weight I can still run the same times and I'm pretty close to it. I made sure I put on the good weight," said Lynch. "My next passion after football is track. I just love running. It brings out the best of you and gets the juices flowing."
Lynch was looking for a showdown with Sweet Home's Wayne Gordon in the 100, but coach Brian Lombardo said he was sore and was resting for the final meets of the season.
Clarence won two events to highlight what was its second team title in three years. Brian Cummiskey won the 400 meters in 49.68 while Justin Bender took the 3,200 in 9:47.17.
Brian Dobmeier of Williamsville North ran a 4:25.83 to win the Art Reimer Memorial 1,600, an event named for the popular track official who died on July 3, 2010.
Brian Banister of Sweet Home ran his PR in the 400 hurdles in 56.51, was on the winning 4x100, and ran his season best finishing third in the 100 hurdles. Jordan Kihl of Lancaster won the shot put in 55-feet 3/4 inch.
WNY Girls Classic: Host Lancaster swept the running event and field event MVP awards at the 28th annual event thanks to eighth-grader Ashley Grazen (100, 200) and Jenn Thill (pole vault).
Not only did Grazen win the 100 meters, she did it beating senior Kala Allen of Williamsville East by 1/1 00th of a second.
"I didn't know if she beat me or not, I couldn't tell," said Grazen, who ran 12.42. "She beat me in indoors in the 55 and I really wanted to beat her because everybody told me I could."
Allen came back and cruised to the title in the 400 meters.
Thill cleared 12-feet-1 to win the pole vault and keep the top jump in New York State.
Clarence came up big in the distance races as Marissa Saenger won the 1,500 lowering her WNY leading time to 4:46.69. Kaitlin McCadden ran a 10:26.88 in the 3,000 to take over the fastest time in WNY.
Tauri Howard's third in the 200 meters and a seven-second PR in the 4x400 led Olmsted.